Museum Technicians and Conservators

Museum Technicians and Conservators: A Career in Preservation and Restoration

Museum technicians and conservators are essential to preserving our cultural heritage. They work tirelessly to safeguard a wide variety of objects, from paintings and sculptures to documents and artifacts, and ensure that they remain in excellent condition for future generations to enjoy. In today’s article, we’ll explore what it means to be a museum technician or conservator, provide some examples of jobs within this field, discuss the education and training required to become one, and offer guidance on how to progress through the ranks.

What is a Museum Technician or Conservator?

Museum technicians and conservators are responsible for the preservation, restoration, and handling of museum pieces. This includes artwork, furniture, textiles, archaeological finds, and more. They use their knowledge of chemistry, materials science, art history, and other related fields to preserve the objects, repair them when necessary, and develop innovative conservation techniques to ensure their continued survival.

Examples of Museum Technician and Conservator Jobs

There are numerous jobs available within the museum technician and conservator field. Here are just a few examples:

– Exhibit Preparator: Preparing exhibits involves selecting and arranging museum pieces, designing exhibit spaces, lighting, and signage, and installing and dismantling exhibits.
– Textile Conservator: Working with historic textiles requires knowledge of textiles, textiles manufacturing, dyeing, printing, and other techniques.
– Objects Conservator: This job requires working with a variety of objects, such as ceramics, glass, metalwork, and sculpture. An understanding of materials science and art history is essential to proper restoration.

Education and Training to Become a Museum Technician or Conservator

To become a museum technician or conservator, a bachelor’s degree in a related field is typically required. Relevant fields include art history, chemistry, archaeology, and materials science. Graduates with relevant certifications and master’s degrees are also highly desirable.

Progression and Advancement Opportunities

Career progression largely depends on the experience level and education of the individual. Museum technicians often start in entry-level positions such as exhibit preparator or museum assistant before progressing to more senior positions such as collections manager, curator, or department head. Conservators often start as assistants before progressing to more senior positions as lead conservators or conservation supervisors.

How to Get into the Field

If you’re new to the field and looking to get started, internships are an excellent way to gain experience in a museum environment. Once you’ve gained experience, you can attain more senior positions through networking and professional development. Volunteer positions or part-time jobs can help you gain experience, which is essential in a highly competitive and selective field.


Museum technicians and conservators are essential to the preservation of cultural heritage. We rely on their expertise to ensure that objects we treasure today are still available for future generations to enjoy. If you’re interested in this field, a degree and curiosity in the technical and historical aspects of art are excellent starting points.

Museum Technicians and Conservators

The occupation of museum technicians and conservators is responsible for the preservation and care of cultural and historical artifacts in museums and galleries. These professionals are responsible for setting up exhibits, handling and cataloging artifacts, and performing conservation work to preserve fragile or aging pieces of art.

Location Job Level Salary Data
US National Average All Workers $48,963.20
US National Average Entry $45,905.60
US National Average Nonunion, All Levels $49,774.40
US National Average Full-time, All Levels $52,811.20
US National Average Full-time, Entry $46,155.20
US National Average Time-based pay, All Levels $50,606.40

As the table shows, the average salary for museum technicians and conservators ranges from $45,905.60 to $52,811.20, depending on job level and payment structure. Full-time work and non-union positions typically pay more than entry-level work or time-based pay.

Geographically, the highest paying cities for museum technicians and conservators are New York City and San Francisco, with average salaries of $61,930 and $59,310, respectively. Conversely, the lowest paying cities are those in the Southeast, such as Jacksonville and New Orleans, with salaries closer to $40,000 on average.